If you’ve read my previous posts on the subject of “mirror cards,” you’ll know what I’m up to here. Using the astrological assignments for the cards of the tarot developed by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, I’ve assembled a set of corresponding card pairs (astrologically derived counterparts) for the entire deck. In the case of the minor cards, the wheel of Chaldean decans already shows the polar opposites for the Twos through the Tens, with each of the Aces occupying a quadrant of space along with one of the Princesses, both of which have their complements diametrically placed across the wheel. The other court cards are also tied to the wheel, straddling signs in a 1/3-2/3 arrangement that is mirrored in the same way as the minor cards.
The trump cards present the greatest challenge, since there are zodiacal, planetary and elemental types to deal with. The twelve zodiacal trumps all have their opposites by sign, making the pairing straightforward. The planetary trumps use only the seven traditional bodies, Sun through Saturn; in the case of the first six, the Sun and Moon are considered planetary pairs, as are Venus and Mars, so I simply matched the major cards that are represented by those planets (Sun and High Priestess in the first case, Empress and Tower in the second). Mercury is characterized as neutral, so I decided to link it to Jupiter through their rulership of the opposing signs Gemini and Sagittarius, thereby joining the Magician and the Wheel of Fortune.
Numerologically, there are some fascinating correlations here: the number of the Sun (19) reduces to 1 (1+9 = 0, 1+0 =1), while the High Priestess is numbered 2, echoing the numerical ranking of the two astrological “lights,” while the Magician and the Wheel of Fortune are both an expression of the number 1 (10 = 1+0 = 1) and the sum of the Empress (3) and the Tower (16) also equals 1 (3+1+6 = 10, 1+0 = 1). These represent a different kind of “counterpart,” but seem to show that the astrological pairing of these cards isn’t mere chance.
Back on topic, that left Saturn and its card, the World, without a dedicated partner, so I grouped it with the three elemental trumps as an expression of Earth. In the system of Elemental Dignities, The Fool as Primal Air is opposed by Primal Earth, for which I pressed the World into service since, as a pair. the “airy” Fool and the “earthy” World represent the “alpha-and-omega” of the series of trumps. The Hanged Man as Primal Water is opposed by Primal Fire, Judgement.
I created the attached table to organize everything in an easily retrievable fashion, and included the astrological associations as an additional point of comparison. I can see using these match-ups in a variety of unique ways. For example, for the Hanged Man/Judgement pair we might say that the former is “stuck and going nowhere fast” while the latter is “moving onward and (hopefully) upward.;” in the same spread they would imply conflicting impulses. With the minor cards (other than the Aces), each one has both a numerical correspondence and an astrological one. Consider the 4 of Swords: as a Four it shares the stability of the fourth trump card, the Emperor, and it also reflects the sphere of the Kings (and Jupiter) on the qabalistic Tree of Life; astrologically, its assignment to Jupiter in Libra connects it with the Wheel of Fortune and Justice. We might make a narrative vignette out of this combination of ideas, perhaps something along the lines of “patience is a virtue that is constantly being tested.” I find it interesting that the Wands are all paired to the Swords and the Cups to the Disks, bringing together elements of the same polarity; the hidden message may be that, although the cards occupy contrary zodiacal signs, they are elementally cooperative at a fundamental level.
The first three court cards of each suit and their decans also align according to opposing signs, while the Aces and Princesses of the same suit occupy one of the ordinal compass points of the zodiac (Northwest, Southwest, Southeast and Northeast). They are centered on the fixed sign of each quadrant, which is also the home of the Prince of that suit. This creates a kind of triplicity of “roots energy,” for lack of a better term; the mirroring cards offer a counterbalancing influence that could offset the risk of youthful, runaway enthusiasm but, as we have seen, may actually be more “cheerleader” than “coach.”
Another way to use mirror cards is in the situation where a drawn card makes absolutely no sense where it happens to land in a spread. It could be instructive to “turn that energy on its head” by consulting the complementary mirror. Similar to reversal but more external than internal, it will at least offer a different perspective that might lead somewhere unexpected.